Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist


This feast, a segment of Advent in the season of Ordinary Time, makes us aware of the wonderful inner relationship between the sacred mysteries; for we are still in the midst of one Church year and already a bridge is being erected to the coming year of grace.
The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch, via Catholic Culture
I've always respected John the Baptist's role in salvation history.

But I never really appreciated his role fully until reading this in Magnificat a few years ago.
I want to show you a sun that shone more brightly than all these, a soul that was truly free and detached, cleaving only to the will of God. I have often wondered who is the most mortified of the saints I know, and after some reflection I have come to the conclusion that it was Saint John the Baptist. He went into the desert when he was five years old and knew that our Savior and his came on earth in a place quite close by, one or two days' journey perhaps. How his heart, touched with love of his Savior from the time he was in his Mother's womb, must have longed to enjoy his presence! Yet he spends twenty-five years in the desert without coming to see our Lord even once; and leaving the desert he stays to catechize without visiting him but waiting till our Lord comes to seek him out. Then when he has baptized him he does not follow him but stays behind to do his appointed task. How truly mortified was his spirit! To be so near his Savior and not see him, to have him so close and not enjoy his presence! Is this not a completely detached spirit, detached even from God himself so as to do his will and serve him, to leave God for God, and not to love God in order to love him better? The example of this great saint overwhelms me with its grandeur.
St. Francis de Sales

4 comments:

  1. Julie
    In which of St Francis de Sales books did you get this extract?
    I will love to read the whole gem(book).
    Thank you. The passage has given more meaning to my quest to love God wholeheartedly.

    Anthony A
    Boston,MA.

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    1. Hi Anthony! As I mentioned it was featured in a Magnificat a few years ago. I don't know where they pulled the excerpt from but if you search for a key phrase on the internet I bet it might show up! :-)

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  2. Hearing the readings yesterday at Mass I wondered how St. Paul knew about St. John the Baptist. Had he gone out to hear John preach? Or did he learn about John from Peter and the other Apostles?

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  3. John the Baptist was the big thing when he was in action. People came from a long way away to see him, repent, and be baptized. If Pharisees came out to question him then I'm sure Saul the Pharisee (a.k.a. Paul) had heard the stories. And maybe also the other options you mention. It's interesting to think of Paul mingling with the crowd or hearing the "I was there" stories.

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